Canada’s lung, colon cancer survival rates among highest in study of high-income nations

The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, September 12, 2019 12:44PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 12, 2019 12:45PM EDT

New international research shows Canada has among the highest survival rates for lung cancer and colon cancer when compared to other high-income countries, but lags in survival rates for esophageal and rectal cancer.

The data was published this week in The Lancet Oncology and looked at survival statistics for seven types of cancer in Canada, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The research comes from the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership. It collected data on 3.9 million patients with seven types of cancer: esophagus, stomach, colon, rectum, pancreas, lung, and ovary. The cancers were diagnosed between 1995 and 2014, and followed up until Dec 31, 2015.

Researchers say that while survival rates continue to improve in high-income countries, likely thanks to improved treatment and earlier diagnosis, disparities persist.

When it comes to lung cancer — the leading cause of cancer deaths in Canada — statistics taken between 2010-2014 show the five-year survival rate in this country was highest at 22 per cent. It was lowest in the U.K. at 15 per cent.

Colon cancer survival rates were second-highest in Canada at 67 per cent, behind Australia’s 71 per cent survival rate.

Meanwhile, Canadian esophageal cancer survival rates were among the lowest at 16 per cent — that’s compared to Australia where patients had a 23.5 per cent survival rate.

Rectal cancer survival also trailed at 67 per cent versus 71 per cent in Australia, where patterns show five-year survival rates rank consistently higher than in other countries.

One-year and five-year survival increased in each country across almost all cancer types from 2010 to 2014, but the highest one-year survival for most types was in Australia, followed by Canada and Norway.

The lowest one-year survival involved stomach, colon, rectal, and lung cancer in the U.K.; and for esophageal cancer in Canada, pancreatic cancer in New Zealand, and ovarian cancer in Ireland.

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